[ aw-ton-uh-mee ]
See synonyms for autonomy on
noun,plural au·ton·o·mies.
  1. independence or freedom, as of the will or one's actions: the autonomy of the individual.

  2. the condition of being autonomous; self-government or the right of self-government: The rebels demanded autonomy from Spain.

  1. a self-governing community.

Origin of autonomy

First recorded in 1615–25; from Greek autonomía “independence,” equivalent to autónom(os) autonomous + -ia -y3

Other words from autonomy

  • au·ton·o·mist, noun

Words Nearby autonomy Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use autonomy in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for autonomy


/ (ɔːˈtɒnəmɪ) /

nounplural -mies
  1. the right or state of self-government, esp when limited

  2. a state, community, or individual possessing autonomy

  1. freedom to determine one's own actions, behaviour, etc

  2. philosophy

    • the doctrine that the individual human will is or ought to be governed only by its own principles and laws: See also categorical imperative

    • the state in which one's actions are autonomous

Origin of autonomy

C17: from Greek autonomia freedom to live by one's own laws; see autonomous

Derived forms of autonomy

  • autonomist, noun

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012